Sunday, March 13, 2011


I hated going home
to antiquated rules,
to ugly fashions despised
by those who knew
better, acceptable ways
and spoke in tongues
of apple pie and moms
so pretty with blue eyed kids
and husbands of prestige so affluent.

I hated going home
where boisterous tunes
of tickling rhythms aroused
involuntary primal moves,
where pictures of luscious tropics
bleeding gods, and America
the beautiful hung
in tacky mix of hope
and ignorance combined.

I hated going home
where simmering sofrito attacked
olfactory senses defenseless.
Where your fire slowly cooking, attempted,
to fill emptiness unrecognized.
Where consumed, rebellion digested,
in your sustenance at home,
I rested, protected by love
in your food disguised.

(Submitted to
Magpie Tales . Hope you visit and treat yourself to some great reading.)

A young Puerto Rican girl, wanting to fit into the mainstream, sometimes rebelled and resented the customs of her ethnicity. Her grandmother, her Mami, always cooked delicious foods. This helped the girl eventually accept her cultural identity and recognize the love that was intrinsic to her home.

is a blend of ingredients used as a basic in many Puerto Rican dishes. It is comprised of chopped garlic, sweet peppers, onions, cilantro and/or a similar herb, culantro.)

(Thank you to Jingle for nominating me for the Versatile Writer Award.)


  1. smiles. love how she was transformed over time by ingesting the food...perhaps from the inside out eh?

  2. The angst of a girl finding her own identity sings off the page.

  3. sofrito! yum! can i come over?

  4. I've heard that it takes a few generations before the children of immigrants cherish the old ways.

  5. What a great poem, one I identify still at my ripe age. Loved your wording and the images this poem brings.

  6. Really enjoyed this - especially the last stanza and "rebellion digested." Nicely done.

  7. Myrna,
    It was a very interesting insight, through your poem, to life and Puerto Rican customs.
    Very interesting.

    Best wishes, Eileen

  8. Many youngsters go through this change or emotions when they find themselves torn between the two worlds.

  9. My husband is Navajo. He wrote a paper in college about his Mom and his Aunts making "fry bread" and for a moment, he forgot about being a minority in racist Arizona and took pride in his culture. As a Mexican woman, it took me until I was in my 20's to embrace that part of myself. Stupid, but it was all around me that the blue eyed blonds were the lucky ones.

  10. Thank you for this poem. This insight helps me to understand some of my students.

  11. Great work - you beautifully fleshed out the perspective and let us experience it.

  12. Myrna, this was quite a deep one. I can hear the different voices of the same person. You have wonderfully weaved the intricasies of the identity problems in the mind. This has to be one of my favourites.

    Joy always,

  13. What a beautiful poem about your roots and the return to your roots through a culinary tradition.;))
    I knwo all about being a misfit as I have felt like one my whole life - being rootless and desperately looking for home is almost what defines who I am.
    Have a lovely Monday,

  14. Images, smells and tastes that last a lifetime carries me full circle.

  15. Aahhh.. love, warmth and GOOD FOOD seems to change many a perspective.. no? :)
    Beautifully written, Myrna... I really liked how described the tension in the girl's mind...and how you showed easing of this tension via a patient adaptation and identity of culture.. really lovely.. and something that I believe many of us can relate to..

  16. Myrna, I would go through periods like this as a teen...kind of wavering back and forth between the culture in my home (Jewish) and all of the kids from school I knew, who seemed so "normal" when I would go to their homes...but it was a dance, because I loved the culture I was raised with, but wanted to desperately fit in. I found my center, as you did and I watch my children doing the same dance as they are cultivating their own identities as teens.

  17. This poem is so rich with family history and tradition, it's quite beautiful.

  18. your lovely spirit!

    Warm Aloha & Gratitude from Honolulu!

    Comfort Spiral



  19. really?

    love your honesty, well expressed sentiments.
    I fear going home at times for some reason 2.